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BREAKING from Munich: Sigrid Nikutta Assumes Leadership of Rail Freight Forward

BREAKING from Munich: Sigrid Nikutta Assumes Leadership of Rail Freight Forward
foto: RAILTARGET/BREAKING from Munich: Sigrid Nikutta Assumes Leadership of Rail Freight Forward
10 / 05 / 2023

Rail Freight Forward: Target of 30% modal share for rail freight transport achievable with digitalization and automation - Sigrid Nikutta succeeds Clemens Först as chair of European rail freight companies' initiative Rail Freight Forward.

"If we succeed in transporting more goods by rail, we will also succeed in meeting the European Union's climate targets. Achieving a 30% share in the continental transport mix for freight trains is possible - with the digitalization and automation of rail transport," said Dr. Sigrid Nikutta, who is the new chair of the Rail Freight Forward initiative, a coalition of European rail freight companies. Dr. Nikutta, DB Board Member for Freight Transport and head of DB Cargo AG, has taken over the baton from Dr. Clemens Först, Board Spokesman of the ÖBB subsidiary Rail Cargo Group. Först has chaired the European rail freight initiative for five years, ever since it was founded.

"Rail is in Europe's DNA! With more than 260,000 kilometers of rail lines, Europe has the largest continental environmental network in the world," said Sigrid Nikutta. Compared to road transport, each freight train emitted 80% to 100% less CO2 and replaced more than 50 trucks at a time, she said. The task now was to digitalize the proven and resilient mode of rail freight transport and further expand rail capacity. One key to this is implementing uniform standards for rail in all of Europe. Whether it be installing digital signaling systems such as ETCS or new couplers on freight cars like the Digital Automatic Coupler (DAC), "modernizing rail is a Herculean task that cannot be left to the transport companies or the rules of the market alone. Investment in the rail system is worth it - it pays off for climate protection in Europe and the world," said Nikutta. "A strong Europe is more important than ever in the face of global challenges. And rail makes Europe strong - no other continent has such a dense network."

"Five years ago, we launched the Noah's Train art project to bring the climate saver on rails to people's attention," said Rail Cargo Group's CEO Clemens Först. Since then, he said. there had been a new awareness in society and in politics of climate protection. "Transportation is a significant part of the climate problem, and rail is a fundamental part of the solution. That's why we're not only driving innovation in rail freight, but also fighting for fair competitive conditions vis-à-vis road transportation and for more capacity in the rail network." The alliance is calling for the opportunity to make driving a train across Europe as easy as driving a truck, without rail transport being financially disadvantaged in the process.

At the transport logistic trade show in Munich, the industry is standing together. "The goal of a 30% modal share for climate-friendly rail freight transport can be achieved in just a few years. It can be done if there is support at European level for the huge task of expanding the network and upgrading to digital standards in rail freight," said Dr. Nikutta.


Freight trains generally receive a green signal at borders - 60% of all trains cross at least one national border. Around 50,000 to 60,000 freight trains per week bring provisions to the continent, with its approximately 450 million people and their businesses and industries.

Ten European rail freight corridors (RFs) provide a backbone for the European economy.


Source: Rail Freight Forward